Do repairs charged against a security deposit have to be made immediately after a tenant moves out?

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Do repairs charged against a security deposit have to be made immediately after a tenant moves out?

We rented our home for 1 1/2 years. The renters have now moved out and we have moved back into the home. The damages done to the home are: walls (screw/nail holes, scraped paint, gouges and discolored paint where it appears they used the wrong color to paint over stains), carpet chewed by dog, drapes torn by cat, baseboard water damage in bathrooms and cracked sink. We would like to itemize and deduct from the deposit, based on estimates for repairs, and present to the former renters. Does the work have to be completed at this time or can we wait a year or 2 when we plan to sell the house?

Asked on October 4, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Not necessarily.  It depends on the damage that you are deducting for.  If you deduct for something that can be considered an immediate repair, for example a health or safety issue, but then wait to make the repair, then the legitimacy of your deduction could be questioned.  However for repair of carpet, painting, and the like, as long as you do not rent out to a third party, then you should be able to make the repairs at a date that you see fit.  Just because you are willing to live with a damaged carpet doesn't mean that your tenant is not responsible to help pay the cost of replacement (no matter when you actually replace it).


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